On May 17, 1946, a group of 13 men met at the Wings Club in New York’s Biltmore Hotel with the mission of determining business aviation’s future following World War II. They realized that the establishment of an “organization to promote and protect the interests of business aircraft operators” was a crucial priority, and so later that year the Corporation Aircraft Owners Association was launched, and on September 24, 1947, the first annual meeting was held, once again at the Biltmore.
The organization was eventually renamed the National Business Aircraft Association, and today it is, of course, the National Business Aviation Association. Next week (Oct. 10-12) it will celebrate the 70th anniversary with the NBAA Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Las Vegas. Needless to say, members and guests won’t have to be reminded of this milestone, as the event will feature plenty of tributes. Most prominent will be a three-dimensional moving sign that attendees will be able autograph.
“As NBAA marks its seventh decade, we want to join with convention attendees in recognizing the tradition of service to the business aviation community that has marked the association’s history,” Dan Hubbard, NBAA senior vice president of communications, said in a statement. “NBAA’s story is really the story of the innovative and dedicated people in the industry, and this sign – a platform for everyone to share their signatures and photos – will highlight that fact.”
In addition to their John and Jane Hancocks, guests are asked to include special messages and well-wishes to the Association, and no anniversary event would be complete without selfies. People are strongly encouraged to share their images on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #NBAA17 (it’s worth noting that accuracy is key, as #NBA17 will give you updates on preseason basketball).
The sign will be featured in various locations throughout the event, so keep your eyes peeled on the NBAA’s social media for updates. Once you’ve left your mark, be sure to swing by “70th Anniversary Row” to check out the static vintage aircraft on display, including a 1946 Douglas DC-3.
“This particular DC-3 is significant because it was built in the same year the first meetings were held to form the association that would become NBAA,” Hubbard said. “The aircraft has always been configured as a business aircraft, never flown by airlines or the military, so it features an interior that offered early business aviation travelers a cabin arrangement for working and collaborating en route.”
In response to the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, NBAA officials have announced increased security at this year’s events. According to a special FAQ page, no exhibitors or presenters have canceled in the wake of the Mandalay Bay shooting, and the NBAA’s leadership has coordinated with state and federal officials to make sure safety is emphasized.
“We’ve been in discussions with Nevada civic and business leaders, and we believe the best way to support the people of Las Vegas is by showing the strength of our communities coming together,” the page reads.